I've said it before (though not, I think, here) that it's worth keeping in mind that the fundamentalist religious folks actually have a point. From their point of view, the "secular humanists", "feminazis" and the "homosexualists", to name just a few of the usual suspects representing what I like to call the unfinished project of world civilization, really are a threat to them.
Feminists really are a threat to traditional patriarchal families; gay-rights (and every queer variant thereof) really are a threat not only to traditional standards of "decency" but — because it demands to be seen and heard — also to the traditional hierarchical structure of just about every traditional culture. The fundamentalist's rage is, in a weird way, a completely rational defensive response to a very real threat posed by even the meekest among those of us for whom tolerance of just about anything but intolerance is the highest ethical good.
How can they possibly expect their daughters to be good and obedient once those daughters have tasted a little freedom? How can they expect their wives to be obedient, their children to follow the arbitrary diktat's of their particular "revealed truth"?
The mullahs and their suicide bombers, the anti-abortionists who really believe abortion is murder, the racists who really believe that miscegenation will "pollute the race" — there's no possibility of rational discourse with them because who believe individual volition, the questioning of received wisdom, the acceptance (not just the tolerance) of the other, we really are destroying their world, or trying to whether passively or aggressively.
Just as Galileo's discovery that the Earth is not the centre of the cosmos really did bring into question the authority of the Church, so an Alberta farm boy who moves to Vancouver and learns that gays aren't monsters but "just folks" is quite likely going wonder whether all sorts of other "truths" he learned at Parson Manning's knee are also false.
Nothing is inevitable, but the long-term trend is one that should see the old guard slowly wither and die, and they know it. And so the scream their fear-based hatred and answer argument with ad homina, tolerance with hatred and ballot-box defeats with violence.
But our way really is better and so we must not lose heart, but keep in mind the long-term successes of our often accidental project of human liberty.
On a lighter note, this just might be the best book review it has ever been my pleasure to have read. It's certainly the funniest. But be warned; the content might break your brain.
All right. Good day, eh.